Since 1999, Washington State LASER has been instrumental in laying the foundation for high-impact systems and practices to support science/STEM learning for students. The LASER theory of action–which creates impact toward a common vision supported by curriculum, instructional materials, professional learning, assessment, and community/administration–has provided an essential framework for guiding efforts by science educators and district leaders.
Over time–and bolstered by our state’s Next Generation Science Standards implementation plan–many of these systems and practices have been institutionalized within educational service districts, school districts, and schools. Additionally, our state has leveraged multiple other resources and programs. A few examples: Math-Science Partnerships have supported pockets of innovation in professional learning and curriculum; Regional Science Coordinators and Science Fellows lead science/STEM efforts in every Educational Service District; STEM Networks help build coherence across business/industry, education, and policy; and many districts and schools benefit from instructional materials cooperatives.
Concurrently, what we know about how people learn and equity, diversity, and inclusion has improved the quality of systems and practices employed by leaders, districts, and schools toward ensuring all students are science- and STEM-literate and have a fair shot at high-demand, family-sustaining opportunities in our state. This research, data, and awareness also lets us know we still have much work to do.
The ecosystem of science/STEM education continues to change in Washington. Washington State LASER is uniquely positioned to identify systemic gaps and opportunities, and to evolve the LASER model and associated support services to account for new players, systems, and resources in the K-12 science/STEM education. This body of work is essential in our collective vision of a future- and career-ready Washington.
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